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NASA Kepler Mission Astronomer Warns: "Extraterrestrial Contact Could End Life on Earth" (VIDEO)

 

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If technologically-advanced alien civilizations are indeed out there, would they be friendly explorers, or destroyers of worlds? According to prominent astrophysicist Lucianne Walkowicz, who works on NASA's Kepler mission, making contact could be catastrophic for the human race: "There's a possibility that if we actively message, with the intention of getting the attention of an intelligent civilization, that the civilization we contact would not necessarily have our best interests in mind."

Now, thanks both to space-based projects like NASA's Kepler Mission, as well as research teams searching with Earth-bound telescopes (such as the one that recently discovered a planet orbiting our neighbor star, Proxima Centauri)," Walkowicz, an astronomer at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago who studies stellar magnetic activity and its influence on planetary habitability using data from NASA's Kepler Mission. wrote in the Scientific American blog,  "we know that the Galaxy is awash in planets. There are so many planets, in fact, that when you gaze into the night sky, each star is likely the sun of another world. By and large, these planets are worlds roughly the size of Earth-- a tantalizing hint that, while we have yet to find life elsewhere, the potential real estate abounds."

 



About the recently discover planet Proxima b orbiting our closest neighboring star, she writes: "We have an example of the kind of environment that might be typical: one lit mostly by soft, infrared light, but also zapped frequently by high energy radiation. Let me tell you: if you ever want to make a room full of Department of Defense employees laugh nervously, tell them the nearest life to Earth might be radiation-hardened aliens who have naturally evolved infrared heat vision."

The Kepler astronomer's favorite thought experiment is to "consider the implications of challenging planetary environments on our chances for recognizing— or communicating with— intelligent life beyond our own world. I imagine a universe filled with rocky planets around little red stars, and on days I'm feeling optimistic, I imagine the atmospheres of these worlds have survived. Global oceans protect surface life from the vagaries of stellar irradiation, and intelligent (even technologically advanced) life might be more akin to the dolphins of our own planet. What would the relationship of this underwater life be to the sky, and to its place in space?"

Walkowicz learned to love the dark stellar denizens of our galaxy, the red dwarfs, which became the topic of her PhD dissertation at University of Washington. Today, she works on NASA’s Kepler mission, studying starspots and the tempestuous tantrums of stellar flares to understand stellar magnetic fields. She is particularly interested in how the high energy radiation from stars influences the habitability of planets around alien suns. Lucianne is also a leader in the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, a new project that will scan the sky every night for 10 years to create a huge cosmic movie of our Universe.

"It could be something that ends life on Earth, Walkowitz concludes, "and it might be something that accelerates the ability to live quality lives on Earth. We have no way of knowing." But our current searches for intelligent life have pressed onward with only limited time and funding, searching for a relatively conscribed set of specific signals.

"While scientists are often loathe to say that we live in a special time," she observed, "in some sense we do: we stand at the dawn of knowing that the universe teems with worlds, but not yet knowing if we are alone. At this moment, we must be keenly cognizant of how far we have to go. Otherwise, our assumptions about the completeness of our search, the universality (or not) of the values we hold, and our inability to communicate even with species we share the same swimming space with, will blind us to the possibilities— and limitations— of what we might come to know about life in the universe."

The Daily Galaxy via Scientific American and nbc

Comments

You mean to tell me they may not be peace loving liberals? OMG.

They might want to eliminate the most extremist, arrogant, stupid, uneducated and intolerant ones. So beware Trump supporters!

If we find aliens way more advanced than us, why they would attack us? The truth is they wouldn't have a reason to do so. Multiplicity is necessary for survival. They would have integrated it in their philosophy way beyond humans imagination. Anything else is bs!

And by the way, it is necessary for evolution and long term survival of any species... Quite obvious actually.

Check out a book called THE KILLING STAR for an idea of what MIGHT happen to us, and why.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Killing_Star

It's one of the best sci-fi novels I've ever read, it should be made into a movie.

To speculate on the motivations and "philosophy" of alien species at this stage of our ignorance is ... just simply ignorant.
Even the assumption that an alien species would "obviously" be concerned at all about its long-term survival is ... well, you've heard the old saw about what the word "assume" does.
Our own species -- the only sample we have at present -- exhibits no obvious concern for its own "long-term survival" -- we appear hell-bent on catching that last fish, cutting that last tree and long-term survival be damned.
For some scary speculation about alien contact, try physicist and science fiction writer John G. Cramer's "Einstein's Bridge".

You are the ignorant one. Once you understand that you are not separated from others and the entire universe, it becomes clear and there is no turning back. Harmony and respect is the key. If humans continue on the current path, it won't be long for us to be wiped out. We must evolved. Evolution is not only technological, but philosophical too. If you find new ways to destroy, you must find ways to not have to use it... The thing is, you are depending on others. So deal with it. I am not speaking to anyone in particular. What QM demonstrates is that everything is connected. Anyone in the universe has to deal with the laws of physics. You can't escape it.

Zoals de waard is vertrouwt hij zijn gasten.

A lot of comments this time. It's called self and or unique particulars..

Our first contact will most likely be with explorers who are not on a mission of discovery. They will probably arrive in a frightful state, and on the edge of starvation. Their hope will be they can stay for a while, replenish their supplies, learn what they can, then move on. They will be at our mercy, we will not be at their mercy. The Hollywood fantasy of self righteous and judgmental aliens who have come to punish us for being human or to eat us is just bad sci fi.

Hubert Reeves wrote '' Why are we not in contact with extraterr. intelligence. 3 reasons
1- we are not technically advance enough to detect their signal
2-they are not technically advance enough to get our signal
3- Every civilisation that develops technology is going toward massive extinction. at one point Technology and survival dont go together , Just look at us .. we will destroy our home world before being able to escape from it . Si is theere anybody out there ? not long enough to answer the phone or knock at the door

If there is an ETI to worry about, it is highly likely to be billions of years old, and thus to know about the Earth's biosphere* (assuming they care to know about such things). Our biosphere is, in that model, thus here because they like, or at least tolerate, it, so I think that life on Earth is not a big worry.

Our presence in that biosphere is, however, a new thing. If there is an ETI, a response may be coming in a few kiloyears; let's hope we are ready for it by then.

* (A billion years is plenty of time to discover and catalog every star and every planet in the galaxy; after that, keeping up with them is a matter of putting small probes in the right places to phone home with news.)

The great filter could still be that physics as we know it lock everyone into their own solar system and thus all the great thinks for life on your home planet are the same list of things that make deep space travel impossible. Starshot is teaching us that we will be lucky to send stuff that weighs about a postage stamp at 20% the speed of light is about all we can expect anytime soon... and will be their problem also. What if we are just early by a few billion years? 13.8 billion vs. 1 trillion seems like we may still be very early to the life party.

If they can't find life anywhere else in our own solar system, that will be a big wake up call that the universe is quite dead thus far... Of course a few places may get lucky and allow intelliigent life to pop up... we are so far away from everything that we could easily never find anyone else.. ever. And even if we do pick up a signal we will never be able to have a conversation 2 way like the movies suggest (unless you can wait 20,000 years between answers.. lol). How do you get 10 to the 26th power down to just 1? divide it by 1,000 only 9 times.. are there 10 factors of 1/1,000 that make Earth rare? What if there are actually 50 or more? Not a matter of if.. but more about when... (again, what if we are just 1% early)... what if we are 20 billion years early?

Aliens more advanced than us would treat us the same way we humans treated primitive cultures. Kill'em! That's what we did! Native Americans, Australian Aborigines, and every single "primitive" culture. And we do the same to all living things we feel superior to. We torture chimps and dogs and rodents in labs every second of every day. We destroy everything we touch, even each other. I suppose aliens would look at us the same way....

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